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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 7 Projects

Virtual drop-in clinic for Hearing Aid patients

Susannah Goggins

Betsi Cadawaladr University Health Board

Within the Audiology service, there is a need for timely access to support for hearing aid patients due to patient reliance on hearing devices.

For some, conversing over the telephone can be difficult, so we offer a variety of ways patients can contact us.

As a service, we have been using the Attend Anywhere video call platform for some scheduled care appointments (booked in advance), but not as a method for patients to access support when needed.

Project Aims/Objectives:

To investigate the use of an Attend Anywhere Waiting Room for a ‘drop-in’ virtual clinic, attended by a clinician, during advertised opening times.

  • Allow access to a clinician via video for those with hearing aid issues.
  • Ability to see the patient on screen, potentially helping with fault finding and practical elements such as correct ear mould insertion and re-tubing.
  • Encouraging self-management of hearing aids, providing timely support, and preventing some patients from needing to attend the hospital or converse on the telephone.

Project Outcomes:

  • 300 patients contacted with instructions about the video ‘drop-in’ repair/support clinic
  • 0 patients used the service in the 4 month time period

Average age of those contacted: 73.9 years old (range 18-93).

The first 100 patients who were contacted by letter were looked at in more detail:

  • 34 of these accessed the service for support in the time period that the video ‘drop-in clinics were running. These attended the service for the following reasons:
  • A further 22 contacted the service to request more batteries or tubing
  • The remaining 44 had no contact with the service during that time period

The outcomes of the appointment for support were also collated:

This would suggest that for some patients, a video drop-in could have been of benefit, e.g. for reassurance/advice, instructions on cleaning microphones and potentially instructions on re-tubing.

Some of these could have been done via video, rather than needing a face-to-face appointment.

However, patients did not try to contact the department via video.

Of the 34 that accessed the service for support during the 4-month time period, a group of 20 were contacted to complete a questionnaire.

  • All reported their preferred method of contact with the service was by phone
  • 70% were aware they could contact the service by email
  • 60% were aware the service had a website with information and instructions for patients
  • All reported they received the video drop-in clinic letter
  • All reported they did not try the service and they prefer to see someone in person
  • All patients reported they were hoping the open access repair/support clinic (face-to-face) would re-open soon and 20% also stated they were hoping the volunteer drop-in community clinics would re-open soon (both closed during Covid-19 pandemic)

Key conclusions:

Results indicated that this hearing aid patient group did not benefit from a video ‘drop-in’ hearing aid support clinic.

Patients chose not to contact the department this way and reported to prefer face-to-face support.

This would suggest it would not be worthwhile offering this service as a means of accessing support for Audiology hearing aid patients.

View the project poster and slides from the Cohort 7 Exemplar Showcase